THE MISSING ORANJE FANS!

The pain of not making it to the World Cup Finals for the Holland supporters is something which is too unfortunate to be true.

Their love of open attacking football  and vociferous chants of "Holland, Holland" will never be heard during the event.

Orange glow with pride

The best team at the 2002 World Cup finals could have been the one that will not be going.

It includes a striking partnership that would scare the pants off any opposition.

It possesses a midfield with as many tricks as a conjuror's convention, and a defence that looks as impregnable as the Hindenburg Line.

It is the team made up of players who will not be making the trip to the Far East this summer.

Ruud van Nistelrooy's goal-scoring feats for Manchester United this season have only served to sharpen the focus on what a sad loss he will be to this summer's World Cup.

Instead of hitting the net, Van Nistelrooy will be hitting a hammock on a beach somewhere.

The Dutchman has time on his side to feature in the next World Cup finals.

But it would appear that his Manchester United team-mate Ryan Giggs is doomed to suffer the same fate as United predecessor George Best, and never appear on the world's greatest stage.

You will not hear too much agreement in Dublin, but the biggest shame of the 2002 World Cup is that Holland will not be there.

On the basis that they could not finish in the top two in their group, the Dutch do not deserve to be in Japan and Korea.

But their absence is a sore that is opened up at every World Cup.

 

2002 World Cup
The Draw
GROUP A
France
Senegal
Uruguay
Denmark

GROUP B
Spain
Slovenia
Paraguay
South Africa

GROUP C
Brazil
Turkey
China
Costa Rica

GROUP D
Korea Republic
Poland
United States
Portugal

GROUP E
Germany
Saudi Arabia
Rep. Ireland
Cameroon

GROUP F
Argentina
Nigeria
England
Sweden

GROUP G
Italy
Ecuador
Croatia
Mexico

GROUP H
Japan
Belgium
Russia
Tunisia

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